The Mint Blog
Prototypes sound good: they suggest innovation and flexibility, without the cost of setting anything in stone.
As a digital innovation agency, we’ve built a good few prototypes for our clients. Alas, these prototypes have been some of our least satisfying projects.
Yes, we've been inspired by the initial vision. Yes, we’ve worked hard to make the client happy. Yes, we’ve gone the extra mile to delight. And yet, and yet... something has never quite clicked.
What goes wrong?
Well, believe it or not, Mint has them fixed! And the solution came from an unlikely direction, meaning it took us a while to realise we had a solution.
With no go-live date, difficult decisions get delayed.
There are bigger ambitions for a prototype than for a normal project. Freed from the constraints of shipping code, everyone hopes to create something game-changing. Extra features get added as the team grasp towards that big ambition.
Lack of Focus
Not wanting to blame the client, but... usually there’s no one at the client firm who is totally focused on the prototype. A prototype is often a bit of a hobby, somewhere down the to-do list.
Good digital products are often simple ideas kept sharp by hard design decisions. Prototypes pull in the opposite direction.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the final edition of our BACON speaker series, before the event itself tomorrow, yes, tomorrow! Team Bacon are currently prepping the venue, getting the bacon sizzling, and getting psyched up for the big event.
Today's Q&A is brought to you by the wonderful Jake Archibald, who's aim is to make developers lives a bit easier, will be helping us render without any of those unnecessary lumpy bits at this weekend's conference.
At Christmas my partner said "at work, we all put our names in a bowl, and took one out, that's who we'd buy a present for. Jeff was left with his own name at the end! Cuh! What are the chances!"
Today's edition of the BACON speaker series is an extra-large helping of delicious, bacony goodness, courtesy of the wonderfully loquacious Christian Heilmann.
In his Helping or Hurting? keynote, Christian will be exploring how we may be hurting the cause of the web by abstracting problems away, instead of learning by failing. Expect inspiration by the bucket load...
Christian Heilmann has dedicated a lot of his time making the web better. Originally coming from a radio journalism background, he built his first web site from scratch around 1997 and spent the following years working on lots of large, international web sites. He then spent a few years in Yahoo building products and explaining and training people and is now at Mozilla. Chris wrote and contributed to four books on web development and wrote many articles and hundreds of blog posts for Ajaxian, Smashing Magazine, Yahoo, Mozilla, ScriptJunkie and many more.
Robert Peston recently discussed how to get businesses borrowing more. He says the problem for banks is:
“businesses they deem to be creditworthy simply don't want to borrow right now.”
The view from this small business is rather different.
Mint is small, fast-growing digital product development company. In eight years, we’ve gone from 2 people to 35. With access to a bank loan, we would have grown more quickly, hired more people and reduced the risk that a cashflow hiccup could capsize us.
At several points in our history we’ve gone round the banks, looking for a loan. We’ve tried them all: from the high street names to specialists like Coutts and Silicon Valley Bank.
We have always been turned down.
We have an Easter treat for you today - a piping hot edition of our BACON speaker series, fresh from the griddle. (And what goes with eggs better than bacon...?)
Today's Q&A is with the scarily-talented Joel Scotkin, who will be geeking us out with his terrific-sounding talk on computer-controlled rockets. Joel's current projects include: "designing the landing approach for the next major Mars mission". We like this guy.
Joel Scotkin | http://www.masten.aero
Joel started his career in financial technology. As JP Morgan's first webmaster he helped launch the very first online presence for a major financial firm with their RiskMetrics offering in 1994. In 1995 Joel founded Random Walk Computing, which drove the acceptance of Java into the financial domain and grew to become Wall Street's leading capital markets technology consultancy. After selling Random Walk to Accenture in 2006, Joel decided to pursue his dream of building rockets, and joined Masten Space Systems as lead investor and eventually CEO. Masten won the NASA Centennial Lunar Lander Challenge X-Prize in 2009 and has pioneered fully autonomous hovering rocket vehicles via dramatic advances in on-board computation. Current projects include work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory designing the landing approach for the next major Mars mission, angel investing in a variety of startups, and pondering the next big thing.